We have devised many ways to push past the challenges of life. But storms…
… the storm is not so easy. The storm produces a more elemental anxiety, a sense of deep anxiety because you cannot touch it anywhere or handle it or measure it or hold it. (Walter Breuggemann)
And much feels like a storm to me. Striking yesterday to read this post by Father James Martin
Over the past week I’ve posted pieces on Justice Antonin Scalia, Sister Helen Prejean and Father Michael Pfleger, each of which has received an avalanche of hateful ad hominem comments. (E.g., and I quote, “I hope he fries in hell,” “She’s not even a real sister” and “He is a disgrace to the priesthood.”) Needless to say, you should feel free to disagree with any of these people, and with me too, but not to spew hate. And, by the way, comments like these are not only hateful, but usually banal. So unoriginal. And I often wonder if these people would have the guts to say these things if they weren’t hidden behind fake FB profiles, or had to say them to their faces. So I have a new rule: If you post any hateful comments (and I don’t mean disagreement, which is fine, but truly hateful talk) you’ll be not only deleted but permanently banned. I’ve been doing that for the past few days anyway. Because it’s pretty clear to me that people who do it once, do it over and over. I have zero time for hate.
I applaud his comments. The storm does feel so much larger. Politcal conversations more shrill and vindictive. More talk of “battle lines being drawn.” More disasterously easy divisions between “this” OR “that.” Simply put, more hateful, apparently caught between between secular self-indulgence and frightened moralism.
That simply is not where Christianity moves. Our shared movement is one of a peculiar, reaching orientation towards the other, towards peace, towards forgiveness and mercy and humility.
When does it change? When we decide it does. That simple. And that difficult.